A psycho-Geoinformatics approach for investigating older adults’ driving behaviours and underlying cognitive mechanisms
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Introduction: Safe driving constantly challenges the driver’s ability to respond to the dynamic traffic scene under space and time constraints. It is of particular importance for older drivers to perform sufficient visual and motor actions with effective coordination due to the fact of age-related cognitive decline. However, few studies have been able to integrate drivers’ visual-motor behaviours with environmental information in a spatial-temporal context and link to the cognitive conditions of individual drivers. Little is known about the mechanisms that underpin the deterioration in visual-motor coordination of older drivers. Development: Based on a review of driving-related cognitive decline in older adults and the context of driver-vehicle-environment interactions, this paper established a conceptual framework to identify the parameters of driver’s visual and motor behaviour, and reveal the cognitive process from visual search to vehicle control in driving. The framework led to a psycho-geoinformatics approach to measure older drivers’ driving behaviours and investigate the underlying cognitive mechanisms. The proposed data collection protocol and the analysis and assessments depicted the psycho-geoinformatics approach on obtaining quantified variables and the key means of analysis, as well as outcome measures. Conclusions: Recordings of the driver and their interactions with the vehicle and environment at a detailed scale give a closer assessment of the driver’s behaviours. Using geoinformatics tools in driving behaviours assessment opens a new era of research with many possible analytical options, which do not have to rely on human observations. Instead, it receives clear indicators of the individual drivers’ interactions with the vehicle and the traffic environment. This approach should make it possible to identify lower-performing older drivers and problematic visual and motor behaviours, and the cognitive predictors of risky driving behaviours. A better targeted regulation and tailored intervention programs for older can be developed by further research.
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